Coco-Shorts Workshop 2016 | Pift Pacific Islanders in Film & TV

A whole weekend dedicated to Pasifika film saw some of the OGs of our fledgling industry engage with 10 young scriptwriters to help them hone their craft.

“Just the luxury of being able to spend time with these guys that we’ve always looked up to is so inspiring for me..These guys are our giants that we stand on..” said MIT student Gabriel Faatau’uu.


From Samoan astronauts to old skool legends, drama and urban Pacific realities – the 10 scripts chosen for the writing lab saw many exciting new scenarios being presented for development.


Sima Urale who was described as our ‘Jane Campion’ talked about the huge difference in film making today and the many new pathways availble for creative ideas.

One of these includes The Coconet TV as a platform for films to be played out online.

Over two days young writers had intensive script time with experienced filmmakers who talked about the many trials and tribulations of making their own work.

One common issue with writers, was being typecast as ‘Pacific filmmakers’ expected to tell certain types of stories. Sima Urale talked about the reactions to her films.

“When I made ‘Still life’ and it won an award at an International Film Festival the jury came up to me and asked me why I made a film about white people.  Why should I have justified making a film that wasn’t brown, I didnt want to make a film about culture, I want to make a film about the heart of something”

Likewise Tusi Tamasese, the creative genius behind ‘The Orator’ said “I don’t want to make ‘indigenous film’ – I just make film – it’s not like im making a doco of indigenous people, it’s a filmic vision”

Award winning artist Oscar Kightley also posed the question “Would you ask Peter Jackson when he’s going to make a Samoan film?”

The writers have a month to write final drafts of their work after feedback from filmmakers and funding advice from the Film Commission, NZOA digital and the Writers Guild.

“I love that there’s a community of filmmakers I can rely on and who can inspire me on my journey..their advice has all been so incredibly different..” Says film student Destiny Momoisea.

Photo Credit:  Ole Maiava & PeninaJoy